When rescuers attended to a stray named Sidney on an Indian street, they found an extremely shocking situation. After all, the animal had sustained such terrible injuries that he couldn’t even stand, let alone walk. In fact, vets later suspected that the canine would be paralyzed forever – but no one accounted for the dog’s incredible spirit.
Sidney’s story began in India, where he was one of the country’s estimated 25 million stray dogs. Often, though, locals look after the animals and give them the food they need to survive.
Usually, then, the dogs go about their business without too much human intervention. But someone had noticed something different about Sidney. After all, the little dog couldn’t stand, so it seems that a Good Samaritan reported him to Animal Aid Unlimited.
Based in Udaipur, India, Animal Aid Unlimited specializes in the rescue of injured and sick street animals. After rescuing the animals, the organization then provides the creatures with shelter and rehabilitation. Therefore, its staff were the perfect people to help Sidney.
But when the rescuers arrived at the scene, poor Sidney was sat on the floor completely covered in flies. In fact, the insects appeared to be swarming around the street dog’s back side, and, at first, no one could tell why.
Initially, then, his rescuers tried to coax Sidney with food to get him to move. When that failed, one man wrapped him in a blanket and attempted to place him on his feet. But the poor pooch was completely unable to stand on his own.
It was only then that the kind strangers noticed a horrific injury to Sidney’s hind quarters. Indeed, there was a huge, gaping hole in his behind. To make matters worse, the injury was severely infected, hence the infestation of flies.
“The upper half of his body was alert and still strong, but his lower half was paralyzed and covered in a swarm of flies hovering around the huge wound near his backside. His intelligent eyes pleaded for help,” read a heart-breaking statement on the Animal Aid Unlimited website in December 2016.
It’s unknown how exactly Sidney got his injuries. However, each year Animal Aid attends to 3,500 animals, including those involved in road accidents and domestic violence. Whatever had happened to this pooch, though, it had caused some major damage.
So the rescuers rushed Sidney to Animal Aid’s hospital where vets confirmed the pup’s paralysis. Sadly, they thought that the dog might never regain use of his legs. However, his rescuers weren’t willing to give up on him just yet.
So they got to work cleaning and treating Sidney’s awful wound. With lots of care and compassion, Animal Aid staff also worked to build the traumatized dog’s confidence. Then, when he was ready, Sidney would embark on a program of physical therapy in a bid to get him back on his feet.
Sidney proved to be the perfect patient. Indeed, just two weeks after his rescue the brave canine was ready to take his first few steps following the ordeal. His legs were shaky, and he couldn’t find the strength to stop himself from falling down, but it was clear that this street dog had an inspirational spirit.
And once his wounds healed, walking became the focus of his recovery. Indeed, the pooch kept trying to regain use of his legs. Only every time he did, he fell to the floor. But heroically, the dog would get up and give it another go.
“After several weeks of treatment and wound healing, we began his physical therapy, gently massaging his legs and encouraging him with sunlight and cuddles. But whenever he tried to walk, his legs collapsed and we worried that he might not ever walk again,” a spokesperson for Animal Aid Unlimited confessed on Facebook in December 2016.
But eventually, all of their hard work paid off. Before long, Sidney regained use of his hind legs, and he didn’t just learn how to walk. In fact, the hound defied all expectations and learned how to run, jump and play ball – things his vets thought they could have only dreamed for him.
Understandably, Sidney’s story touched many hearts. After Animal Aid shared a video documenting the dog’s rescue and recovery, it received 40,000 views on YouTube in a matter of days. People also shared the footage on Facebook more than 1,000 times.
Since then, both Sidney and the animal rescue organization have been flooded with nice messages on social media. “Wow – how heart-breaking and uplifting at the same time,” read one. “What people to even try to save him and look at the result. Truly inspiring and what a life lesson for us all.”
“This page is one of my favorites. Even though I know the videos will start sad and be horrific, I love every single one for the hope and brightness at the end,” another said. “Thank you to your dedicated team for not giving up on these animals and saving them. From the puppies to the donkeys and cows, thank you.”
It’s not yet known what Sidney’s next step will be. If he’s deemed fit enough to compete for food, escape predators and avoid traffic, then he could be placed back on the street. However, if he doesn’t make a complete recovery, the dog might live out his days at Animal Aid’s sanctuary.
But if Sidney can overcome his paralysis, then surely he can take whatever a life on the street might throw at him. And if one thing’s for sure, Sidney has proven that, with enough love and care, you can teach an old dog new tricks after all.